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Facebook Could Know You’re Pregnant Before You Do!

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Facebook Pregnancy Algorithm
Image Courtesy Canterbury

Have you ever been surfing through your favourite web page or social media platform and suddenly an ad pops up? You don’t remember searching for this product but all the ads are focused on this one particular thing? Well, you’re not alone. It’s all about Facebook algorithms.

Talia Shadwell, an avid Facebook user, recently started receiving sponsored ads based on baby clothing and pregnancy health. All because she hadn’t logged in her previous month’s cycle! 

Algorithms Explained

The Facebook algorithm controls the ordering and presentation of posts, so users see what is most relevant to them. Rather than publish content chronologically, posts and ads are presented based on what Facebook sees as relevant to you, the user.

Thanks to algorithms, cookies, apps and your search history, ads can easily be designed and targeted to what you’re likely to be interested in. When you search for something, or in this case change a particular behaviour, your apps send information to other apps. These apps then generate targeted and sponsored ads. 

The Situation

Like many women, Talia uses a period tracker app for many reasons; convenience, health analysis, time and money-saving. Unfortunately, she forgot to log in her cycle and due to this, the app assumed she hasn’t received her period and concluded that she was pregnant. The app started communicating the information to third party apps and the algorithms began sending her sponsored apps on pregnancy. The funny thing is that immediately she logged in her cycle, the ads stopped popping up.

This leaves the door open to so many conclusions.

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Conclusions On Algorithms

The first one could fall on the designers of the app. They could have just as easily assumed she had reached menopause,  illness or simply stopped using the app or started using a different one. Yet they choose to focus on a mythical child.

Small-time developers do this so as to monetize their apps. They request for so many permissions to access your apps, allowing them to extract and send information to many different platforms.

Of course, the algorithms have a positive stance. They recommend relevant information at times and keep you in the circle you intend to be in. However, this is a serious issue and we need to watch out on what permissions we give to certain apps.

 

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